From the notebook: Tape Transports

Todays notebook sketch is some ideas for building a tape “transport” – the mechanical bits that move the tape around in the right way and at the right tension.

Three transport configurations and my current thinking on a capstan.

I have a weird fascination with magnetic storage media and tape in particular. It was a key technology in computing for decades and it has more or less completely disappeared.

All that time in home, commercial, and industrial use has left lots of bits and bobs to experiment with, although it is very very quickly disappearing.

Other than the playback and record heads and the media itself, the devices can be recreated from scratch. (And let me get back to you on making heads and media…)

From my notebooks: optical ray tracer

Once my optics bench is finished, I plan on measuring all the lenses I have on hand and building something with them. To do that, I’ll have to try out designs using software. But since the design space is limited by what I actually have on hand, I have the opportunity to write a tool that uses the constraint of what I have “in stock” to reach a design goal.

The way I envision this now is some type of Genetic Boxcar2D but for optics. And the first step to that is a web technology ray tracer and optical system design tool. After all, the genetic algorithm is more or less tweaking all the knobs I’d be tweaking manually in such a tool.

Here’s a spread from my note book where I am thinking about the best way to model the domain problem of an optical system.

Two pages from one of my notebooks

And here’s me thinking about it some time between PAX (West) 2017 and my trip to Italy in the fall.

Two more pages from an older notebook

Here’s a page from 2015 – at least before an HCDE info session on Oct 15th.

A page and a half of optics with a bonus page of programming language brain farts

I know I’ve been thinking about this for at least a decade, but I haven’t found my original notes, so we’ll leave it at that.

Not to self: I need to make an index to all my notebooks.